- Many businesses are migrating to cloud environments to minimize security risks, save money and gain competitive advantages.
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a major player in the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud market, with robust services and resources available.
- IT professionals can access numerous free services to bolster their AWS knowledge and skills, including Amazon’s training, blogs and YouTube videos.
- This article is for small business owners and IT professionals who are seeking free resources to take their AWS expertise to the next level.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a well-respected on-demand cloud computing platform provider that businesses can use to access reliable, scalable and affordable cloud services. As its popularity grows, more businesses want IT professionals with AWS expertise to fine-tune and manage cloud migrations, services, maintenance and security.
Learning the ins and outs of AWS can help IT pros advance their careers, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Numerous free AWS training resources can supplement certification studies and add to a broader general knowledge of AWS.
AWS incorporates infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings.
Amazon-linked free training opportunities for AWS
Cloud hosting is an ever-burgeoning field, and IT pros may seek knowledge in various platforms, including Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. However, according to Statista, AWS dominates the arena, with a 32 percent market share in the fourth quarter of 2022. This status is prompting more and more IT pros to become proficient in the platform.
Amazon encourages IT pros to learn more about AWS with the following free training opportunities.
1. IT pros can access free Amazon Web Services training.
The following Amazon-sponsored training offerings will deepen your AWS proficiency and cloud computing knowledge, no matter your current familiarity or skill level. Visit the following resources:
- AWS website: Get an overview of AWS on the AWS website.
- AWS Training and Certification website: The best place to start exploring free training is the AWS Training and Certification page. Explore digital and classroom training, and evaluate learning opportunities by role or solution. Training includes Cloud Essentials training, Architect training and Machine Learning training.
- Free AWS training programs: Amazon offers free AWS training programs in hundreds of subjects. Each program describes an AWS cloud topic and lets participants tackle a hands-on lab to reinforce what they’ve learned. Topics include data storage, databases, networking and content delivery, security and identity, analytics, and deployment and management. Some highlights include the following self-paced online courses:
- Cloud Essentials learning plan: The Cloud Essentials learning plan is for beginners who are learning to implement solutions in the AWS cloud.
- Data Analytics learning plan: The Data Analytics learning plan comprises a set of on-demand courses about data collection, storage, processing, visualization and more.
- Security learning plan: The Security learning plan guides you through a recommended cybersecurity curriculum covering best practices for securing AWS implementations.
AWS also offers these resources:
- Free digital exam readiness courses
- Free Twitch-based live events
- Instructor-led classes (not free)
AWS certifications are considered among the top big data certifications and the best enterprise architect certifications.
2. Access the AWS free tier to learn more about the platform.
For more opportunities to learn how AWS components work, sign up for the AWS Free Tier. For a year, you can play with the following:
- Amazon EC2 (for computing)
- Amazon S3 (for storage)
- Amazon RDS (for relational databases)
- AWS IoT (to connect internet-of-things devices to the cloud)
- The Amazon Elastic Container Registry (to store and retrieve Docker images)
Each AWS component has processing or capacity limits, such as 750 hours per month for Linux and another 750 hours for Windows in Amazon EC2. You must sign up for an AWS account to access the material. The company requires you to enter credit card information, but you won’t be charged for anything unless you exceed outlined time limits during the free subscription period.
Learning about AWS IoT solutions can help you understand how IoT will change work as we know it and dramatically alter the employee experience.
3. Access AWS whitepapers as free training resources.
AWS offers a library of whitepapers that provides information on the following:
- Background on AWS services
- Tips on adopting AWS services
- Best practices for AWS solutions
- Guidance for architecting solutions
- Calculations for determining return on investment and total cost of ownership.
Whitepapers are available in PDF, HTML and Kindle formats.
4. Read Amazon-linked blogs for more AWS information.
Company blogs and partner blogs are excellent free resources. The AWS News Blog, which is actually several blogs on various AWS components, is rife with great how-tos on using AWS. For example, the AWS Compute Blog zeroes in on the following and much more:
- Identity and access management (IAM) roles
- Kubernetes clusters
There are also blogs on AWS architecture, big data, security, mobile development and databases, to name just a few topics. Additionally, check out the following:
- All Things Distributed blog: Be sure to check out All Things Distributed, which is Amazon Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels’ blog on building scalable and robust distributed systems.
- RightBrain Networks blog: RightBrain Networks is a consulting group and AWS partner. It offers cloud strategy, software development, managed services and training (for a fee). The RightBrain blog is a terrific free resource covering cloud computing and AWS certification exam tips.
- CloudThat blog: You should also browse the CloudThat blog on AWS for more cloud computing information.
If you’re learning about Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud along with AWS, check out the various Microsoft certifications and Google Cloud certifications that can advance your career.
Free AWS learning paths and videos
For those who learn best with more traditional classes, numerous stand-alone courses and learning paths are available online.
1. Coursera’s AWS resources
Coursera offers online courses from universities and organizations worldwide. Its free offerings provide video lectures and some assignments. If you pay for a course, you get access to all content and features and a certificate of completion.
Coursera’s AWS resources include the following:
These courses are an excellent way to learn about AWS but do not offer hands-on experience. To get that, you must register for an AWS account and should consider using the AWS Free Tier.
Coursera also offers several AWS-related specializations on Coursera. Specializations are course collections that provide a learning path on a specific subject.
If you’re looking to age-proof your resume, you can demonstrate that your tech skills are current by adding relevant Coursera courses to your educational highlights.
2. YouTube’s AWS resources
You can find robust training opportunities on YouTube. Here are a few of our favorite AWS resources:
- Amazon Web Services channel: The Amazon Web Services channel is the official AWS YouTube channel. It offers playlists detailing feature announcements and AWS capabilities. It also has a specific AWS training and certification training playlist.
- Cloud Computing With AWS: Cloud Computing With AWS is a highly rated video by Edureka covering cloud computing fundamentals, cloud deployment and delivery models for beginners. The latter part of the video focuses on AWS and use cases. At almost four hours, it’s longer than most.
- Simplilearn AWS channels: Simplilearn channels offer training videos and webinars on cloud computing in general and AWS in particular. Simplilearn also has an 11-hour course on AWS.
- AWS (Amazon Web Services) Introduction: Eli the Computer Guy brings you the basics of AWS, IaaS and compute in just under an hour in this video called AWS (Amazon Web Services) Introduction.
- AWS Tutorial Series: The AWS Tutorial Series provides tutorials with a focus on working with and linking multiple services.
- AWS Online Tech Talks: Led by AWS engineers and solution architects, AWS Online Tech Talks are live technical deep dives, customer examples, demonstrations and more.
3. Free trials and test-drives
Several online training companies that charge for courses also let customers sign up for a free trial. Here are a few options with AWS offerings:
AWS Partner Solutions is another resource. Its sandboxes allow you to explore several server-based solutions from AWS partners. There are test-drives for big data solutions, security, storage, DevOps, and more technologies and services. Each sandbox is a preconfigured virtual environment, and you get step-by-step instructions and videos.
4. Udemy’s AWS offerings
Udemy offers many very inexpensive courses, and the company regularly offers discounts on some of its higher-cost courses. Others are absolutely free.
For example, AWS learners can take the Cloud Computing With Amazon Web Services course, which encompasses 29 bite-size lectures over nearly three hours. At present, Udemy offers several thousand AWS-related courses.
Udemy instructors regularly offer discounts on their classes, such as on Black Friday. If you are not in a rush, wait to see if a specific class goes on sale before purchasing it.
Microsoft has its own Azure cloud service, so you’ll find Azure-related offerings on the Microsoft Learn platform. However, cloud services must work together to appeal to administrators. The Microsoft Learn platform has several resources that touch on AWS, including a course called Connect non-Azure resources to Microsoft Defender for Cloud.
Microsoft Learn also has other courses for IT professionals who are familiar with AWS and want to learn more about Azure, which can help IT candidates round out their resumes and skill sets as they set and achieve career goals.
User-created guides to AWS
Consider user-created AWS guides such as the following:
- The Open Guide to Amazon Web Services: The Open Guide to Amazon Web Services on GitHub is full of practical information, best practices and tips written by engineers who use AWS. This lengthy guide covers general AWS information, learning, career development, AWS management, and server and application management. The authors intend for the guide to be less of a tutorial and more of a reference encyclopedia for beginners and expert AWS users.
- List of AWS resources on GitHub: Another good GitHub offering is a comprehensive list of AWS resources to help candidates prepare for AWS certifications.
Earning the best IT certifications can help you advance your career and show employers you’re committed to gaining new knowledge and skills.
Taking your AWS skills to the next level
As you navigate your career path in IT, you’ll find a vast amount of AWS information, training and certification prep material. Because so much is free, you can get a solid AWS foundation before parting with your hard-earned cash. And because Amazon offers a free AWS tier, be sure to pair your knowledge with actual hands-on experience.
Combining what you’ve learned with continued practice allows you to demonstrate practical knowledge while zeroing in on areas you need to study more intensively.
Jeremy Bender also contributed to this article.